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Characters of Khalifah in Islam

Mawlana Shaykh Hisham Kabbani

24 April 2010 Fenton Zawiya, Michigan

A`oodhu billahi min ash-Shaytaani 'r-rajeem. Bismillahi 'r-Rahmaani 'r-Raheem.

Nawaytu 'l-arba`een, nawaytu 'l-`itikaaf, nawaytu 'l-khalwah, nawaytu 'l-`uzlah,

nawaytu 'r-riyaadah, nawaytu 's-sulook, lillahi ta`ala fee haadha 'l-masjid.

Ati`ullaha wa ati`u 'r-Rasoola wa ooli 'l-amri minkum.

Obey Allah, obey the Prophet, and obey those in authority among you. (4:59)

There are a lot of awliyaaullah around the world and Allah (swt) called them "awliyaullah," which represents His Prophet (s). (Mawlana stands, recites salawaat.) They represent Prophet (s) in spreading the message of Islam, imaan, and ihsaan, which are the three main structures for the religion.

You can't suddenly be a shaykh. You cannot be raised to a title. A shaykh has to be a scholar first, then a shaykh. One who first studied to be a scholar by studying Shari`ah, and who then reached Maqaam al-Ihsaan, to worship Allah (swt) as if you are seeing Him. Sayyidina Khalid al-Baghdadi (q) brought the tariqah from Shaykh Jaan-i-Janaan in India, all the way to Turkestan, China, all over the Middle East and to Sham (Damascus). He said, “Tariqah is the highest reality that connects you to a way on the Sirat al-Mustaqeem, to build Allah's (swt) pleasure and be with Prophet (s)."

Sunnah means to follow the way of Prophet (s). You can’t say, “I don’t know Shari’ah and I am following Prophet (s),” as one of the realities to following Prophet (s) is to follow Shari`ah. (Those who claim to be khalifah) didn't follow a guided shaykh to take them to the door of the Prophet (s), and to become a shaykh you must know Shari`ah as without it you cannot be a shaykh. And now they are not calling themselves "shaykhs;" they call themselves "khalifah," which you never saw in the time of Prophet (s). No Sahabi (r) called himself khalifah because it is haraam to say that, although Prophet (s) said, "My ashaab (Companions) are like stars; whichever one you follow you will be guided." They didn't say, "I am khalifah," until Prophet (s) left dunya and they had a meeting and agreed that Sayyidina Abu Bakr (q) will be khalifat ar-Rasulullah. the rightly guided khalifah for the ummah. Before that, did Prophet (s) say anyone is khalifah? No.

Even in Qur'an, Allah (swt) mentioned Abu Bakr as-Siddiq is saahib (companion) for Prophet (s). wa idh qaala li saahibihi la tahzan inn allah ma`ana. When they were migrating to Madina and unbelievers came to the cave where they were hidden. That ayah doesn't refer to him as khalifah; Allah (swt) said saahib, companion. Then after Sayyidina Abu Bakr (q) left dunya, they tried to work out that Sayyidina Umar (r) be khalifah, and following him Sayyidina Uthman (r), and following him Sayyidina Ali (q).

What happened between the Sahabah (r)? They fought because of the word khalifah, who will take over. Sayyidina Muawiyya declared war against Sayyidina Ali because Sayyidina Uthman was killed and Sayyidina Muawiyya is his relative and demanded to get the person who killed him. In his wisdom, Sayyidina Ali, who was Ameer al-Mu'mineen, head of all believers, said, "I cannot give you that one as there will be a tribal war, so I will judge him." That didn't work out; we won't enter that discussion here, but in summary, they fought and due to a conspiracy Sayyidina Ali (q) was killed (not by Muawiyya).

So Amir al-Mu`mineen is not two, he is one. His representatives are not khalifah. That's why you can’t take the meaning literally when Mawlana Shaykh Nazim calls you khalifah. Ameer al-Mu'mineen has many people as representatives. Some are of little understanding. Some are higher and truly understand meaning of representative. If you say you are khalifah then you become a Salafi khalifah, as they interpret the term khalifah literally. Many people mistake this word and say, "I am khalifah." No, you are `aamil, a laborer. Even if the shaykh used the word khalifah, it is literally the waali, mayor or governor of an area, a worker of the shaykh, an `aamil. The shaykh may have many different mayors in an area; as his waali or `aamil, you may represent a specific jurisdiction and you report to the shaykh and keep him informed of that specific area. The senior representative is a governor and below him is the mayor. Mawlana Shaykh uses same word in Arabic, khalifah, which can mean a township councilor, a mayor, and a governor (all of which can be many), but there is only one commander-in-chief, the highest khalifah (representative), Ameer al-Mu'mineen.

That is why Sayyidina Umar (r), Sayyidina Ali (q), and Sayyidina Uthman (r), all are Ameer al-Mu'mineen, and Sayyidina Muawiya became Ameer al-Mu'mineen. That term in Arabic is `aamil, the laborer who works for you, he acts for you. He represents you through work and at any time he can be fired, like when Sayyidina `Umar fired the head of his army, Sayyidina Khalid ibn Waleed (r), and appointed younger one, Sayyidina Saariyah (r). That representative is waali or mayor, like a governor, but not Ameer al-Mu'mineen, which is the highest level of khalifah (Commander of the Faithful).

Today people don't understand this hierarchy and they are trespassing limits, and people are confused. I am trying to explain this so people will understand this very important point. Those people who are khalifahs might misunderstand that really they are laborers of one khalifah, Ameer al-Mu'mineen. In the time of Sayyidina Abu Bakr or Sayyidina `Umar, were there two Ameer al-Mu'mineen? No. But later when Islam expanded to Persia and North Africa, there were khalifahs appointed by the Ameer al-Mu'mineen, working for him as district councilors, mayors, and governors.

I am not talking about someone in particular, but in general. Those who today claim they are Mawlana Shaykh's khilafah, first we say that is haraam as we want our shaykh to have long life! When you say you are Mawlana Shaykh's khalifah, it is as if you are saying to him, "Go now, I want to replace you," or, "Yaa Rabbee, kill that person!" Aren't you ashamed to say you speak with angels, and jinn, and heavens? Go check your background and review what you were before you were with Mawlana Shaykh, how you spent your life and what you were doing!

Now, let us say the past is past, but look to today. Now today, do you know Shari`ah? Do you know what is halaal and what is haraam? I ask a simple question to those who say they are khalifah, and I ask myself as well, and our brothers and representatives, what are conditions of wudu? That is very basic Islamic knowledge traditionally taught to elementary students seven years of age. What are conditions of wudu? I am asking those so-called khalifahs who say, "I am representing Mawlana." Say now, how many conditions of wudu are there; count them and describe them. There are nine conditions of wudu; can you list them? This is very basic knowledge that every Muslim should know in order for their worship to be accepted. It is a simple question. If you don't know the answer, no problem, but go learn. Is this a correct (expectation), or not? And I believe that many of them, I didn't say all, don't know the answer. How can you say you are representative and you don’t know the conditions or principals of ablution? So if you do not know such a basic issue, if your ablution is accepted or not, how do you dare grant yourself a title that is not for you?

First came Shari`ah, then tariqah. Knowledge of Shari`ah is a prerequisite (to lead others, as you are responsible for them). If you don't have such basic knowledge, then how can you know tariqah? The first level of Islam is the five pillars: Shahaadah (profession of faith), salaat (prayers), sawm (fasting), zakaat (annual poor-due/tax) and hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). You have to know the basics.

Can I ask you a question? What are the prerequisites of hajj? I am not asking common people, but I am asking those laborers who claim to be khalifah, which is the wrong word as you are laborers. What are the conditions of hajj? They go for hajj and they don't know!

Shaykh Khalid al-Baghdadi (q), Mawlana Shaykh Nazim (q) and all saints said, first thing you have to know is sunnah and you have to follow in the footsteps of Prophet (s), (as Allah [swt] said in Holy Qur'an), "Say to them (O Muhammad), 'If you love Allah, follow Muhammad; Allah will love you.'"

I will give you a hint, I mentioned it last time. I will mention to you some of the students that were governors, representing Sayyidina Khalid al-Baghdadi (q). He has 299 representatives around the world and Mawlana Shaykh might have 1000! First of them is Shaykh Mustafa al-`Asim, Shaykh al-Islam of Istanbul; Shaykh Abdur-Rahman al-Kuzbari, the muhaddith of Sham, the one teaching the hadith in Masjid al-Umawiyyah, the mosque where Sayyidina `Isa (a) will descend, and he was from Ahlul Bayt; Sayyid Amir at-Tayyibi, he was on Shafi`i (madhdhab); Shaykh Husayn al-Muradi, mufti of Sham and one of biggest fuqaha (jurists); Shaykh Umar al-`Amidi, the highest authority on Hanafi School in 1362 Hijri. These are students, representatives; we can call them laborers of the shaykh, and look how they are as scholars.

In 1277 Hijri, Shaykh al-Ghizzee, grand mufti of the Shafi`i School, mufti of Sham after the first one died; Shaykh Muhammad Amin `Abideen, general secretary of fatwa department who has the biggest book, al-Mu`tamid fee Fiqh al-Hanafi; Shaykh al-Hanbal as-Shattee; Shaykh Ahmad ibn Hanbal Hasan al-Bittar, one of the biggest scholars; Shaykh `Umar al-Mujtahid, one of biggest acholars; Shaykh `Abdul Ghani Saadat. And we continue mentioning, Sahib Tafseer Ruh al-Bayan, `Allama al-`Alusi; Shaykh` Ubaydullah ibn Sibghatullah, the judge of Iraq in Basra; the Najdi, saahib Asfa 'l-Mawaarid min Silsal Mawlana Khalid, (who compiled) The Most Pure Set of Resources from the teachings of Mawlana Shaykh Khalid al-Baghdadi (q); and it goes on and on.

These are representatives. Who are representatives today; what is their background? We are happy to say they are representing Mawlana, no problem against that, but they have to be ashamed of themselves if they want to publicize that and they have to go study Shari`ah in order to answer questions. Some are afraid to (publicly) read Qur'an and Fatihah, afraid to stand as imaam (of prayer) because they will recite incorrectly!

So what Sayyidina Khalid al-Baghdadi (q) is saying on behalf of Sayyidina Shah Naqshband (q), is that you have to follow the Prophet (s) and hold fast on the `aqeedah (beliefs) of Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa’l-Jama`ah. That means you have to study `aqeedah, beliefs in Islam (which is based on) three things: `ibadaat, which is ablution, prayers, fasting, zakaat, hajj. That goes in the first chapter of fiqh on the ways of worship, how to do, etc. Then you have imaan, what is your `aqaaid, your beliefs. That means you have to know Ahlu ’s-Sunnah follows two ways: either by Imam al-Asha`ri or by Imam al-Maturidi; and some people follow another imaam, another school. We follow the tafseer, the explanation of Imam al-Asha`ri. Most Hanafis follow al-Maturidiyya, and most of Shafi`i people follow the tafseer of Imam al-Asha`ri.

So, I am asking simple questions. Do they know that? Did they open a book and study what is the `aqeedah, one of the most important teachings that tells you how not to make shirk?

And I ask a simple question, that first thing students of `aqeedah study, is the meaning of istawa Allah `ala al-`arsh. bismillah. taha ma anzal `alayk al-qur'ana litashqa. ar-rahmaan `ala al-`arsh istawa, ar-Rahmaan sat on the Throne, istawa. I am not going to explain it to them; they have to explain what that means--not what is explained in commentaries of Holy Qur'an, but give me the explanation of istawa Allah `ala al-`arsh. You say I am sitting on a chair. Can you describe that; he is sitting on a chair. What is the Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah explanation of that, from Asha`ari and Maturidi? That is the first explanation you must know and that is described, I will correct it later, how Allah "sat" on the Throne. Can they explain it? I will explain, as it is a very sensitive issue and I hope no one misunderstands this discussion.

Allah (swt) did not sit on the Throne; that is what anthropomorphists say. Allah (swt) doesn't need to sit on a throne, so how do you explain that? First, "ar-Rahmaan" is Allah (swt), but it is one Attribute of His 99 Attributes. He (swt) didn't say, Allah istawa ala al-`arsh, the Most Merciful istawa `ala al-`arsh. How is He istawa? Allah (swt) sat? No! He doesn't need something created, He is the Creator! and Ahlu ’s-Sunnah wa ’l-Jama`ah, and with my respect to those who are saying they are representatives, I ask them this question that they teach children when they are 10-12 years of age. I am asking those representatives, who are waali or governor or `aamil, do they know the answer? If they know, they can send a message.

They are making themselves so big, as if coming from heavens, describing in their websites that they are granted a land and granted this and that. Prophet (s) said that dunya does not have value even the wing of mosquito! If you like that, take it and go; see what you achieve with it, take it and run! You are not from the "inner circle." If you see someone has something from the shaykh, it doesn't mean anything. This is what you are saying, that Mawlana gave land from his property. It is not Mawlana's property; it is land from an American company mining sulfur there. The government doesn't let you build; they will demolish it. Go build and see what happens. At least there will be a structure there. But you have to know it is American land and you don't like America, so you don't need to build on American property! And you have beads (tasbeeh), Allahu akbar. Mawlana gives his beads everyday. You go and sit next to Mawlana and ask for beads. Ask Husayn computer. Don't tell me things that you don't know about them.

So I ask a simple question. We cannot say Allah (swt) sat on a throne, rather, we say, "Allah took over the Throne, that manifestation of ar-Rahmaan was on the holy Throne."

Sayyidina Musa (a) said:

قَالَ رَبِّ أَرِنِي أَنظُرْ إِلَيْكَ

qaala rabbee arinee andhur `ilayh,

O my Lord! Let me see You. (7:143)

Allah (swt) said,"You cannot see me, but if I manifest to the mountain, if it stays then you can see Me. If not, then it will shatter." When Allah (swt) manifested His Beautiful Names and Attributes on that mountain, it shattered. So what will happen when Allah manifests one Beautiful Name on the Throne, not 99 Beautiful Names? That manifestation of that Name is the meaning of istawa `ala al-`arsh. That is very sensitive, so I explained it to you. That is more sensitive than conditions of wudu; you can make a mistake in that. So do they know that? With my respect to you and to every mureed of Mawlana Shaykh, go and study a little bit, then you will have basic knowledge. You are young; don't feel shy, don't feel ashamed, just go and take a course. Give one year of your life to study Shari`ah. Don't say, "I am khalifah and don't need Shari`ah." No, you will not go anywhere.

People see an inflated balloon and say it is rising up, rising up, and they are mesmerized with it, saying, "How high is the balloon! How colorful is the balloon!" But one needle to that balloon going in the sky (will pop it). That one considering himself a big something, I don't wnat to say one needle will bring him down. (And people will say) "O! What happened? You fell down, you became deflated, what happened?" And they will leave him, as many are leaving these representatives at the end, because they misbehave. So what can (their followers) do?

Mawlana Shaykh said to me one time, "O Hisham Efendi. Do you know why I pet people? Because I like to keep the beast around me. If they go out they might be dangerous for everyone."

You want to be khalifah, no problem. How many khalifahs are there? More than 200, I know personally and I have good relations with them. Some are good and some think they are above everyone. What can you do? I am saying to that one, and to everyone, may Allah forgive us and may Allah guide us. And that is why He said wattiba` ar-rasool, and he didn't jump immediately on fiqh, but said, "hold tight to beliefs."

What was the Prophet (s) teaching when he first came? Was he teaching to pray or teaching belief? He was teaching to say, La ilaaha illa-Llah Muhammadun Rasoolullah, then after 18 months the (divine order for) prayers came. Most of early verses of Holy Qur'an are on `aqeedah. Go and read on `aqeedah to see what is correct and not correct. So if it is not correct, why you have to make all those following you and believing in you make all these mistakes? It is the hikmah of Mawlana Shaykh, who said, "In the time of Grandshaykh, I did not see him give baya` to anyone, and never he gave khalifah to anyone," in the way they understand it now. He said, "I have two students." Now they say, "There is Mawlana Shaykh Nazim and me." That is their belief!

Grandshaykh (q) said, "I have two talmeez, Nazim Effendi and Husayn Effendi." He never said, "I have two khalifahs," until a week before he was leaving dunya and he wrote his will. The will states, "After many seclusions that I made for Nazim Effendi," not 'Shaykh Nazim' as Grandshaykh loves him so much he said "Nazem Effendi." So (in his will) Grandshaykh didn't mention Shaykh Husayn (q), and we understood from that he will pass before Shaykh Nazim and that is what happened, he passed away last year. And Grandshaykh said, "I am giving two helpers for Nazim Effendi, Hisham and Adnan." Helpers, not khalifahs. This means that if Mawlana is not present in a country, they help with that. It didn't continue. May Allah give him long life.

I am not against some particular person. You may love a particular person, that is the purpose of khalifah. Everyone has people with him, so be careful with that, be careful not to pass the limits. Sayyidina Khalid al-Baghdadi (q) of the Naqshbandi Golden Chain said in his teachings, "Don't ever praise your shaykh." Why? Because he feels unworthy of it and in the presence of Prophet (s) he will be humiliated. So Mawlana Shaykh says, "I am nothing.. I am zero." We say it but we are fake, and he has no ego; he is saying it in the presence of Prophet (s)! When Mawlana says it, he means it, yes. He doesn't like you to praise him. He never said about himself, I am Sultan al-Awliya." He refers to Grandshaykh as Sultan al-Awliya.

One time Mawlana Shaykh asked me to do dhikr in his presence, and out of our love, at the end I was making ihda and I said, wa ila hadrat Sultan al-Awliya, Mawlana Shaykh Nazim al-Haqqani, and he shouted at me, "Don't say that, as if you are petting me! In my absence you can say it, but not in my presence. That is caressing me!"

It is not nice to caress your shaykh in front of him. You cannot caress yourself, but you are caressing yourself when you say, "I am speaking out from Mawlana's heart. He is appearing to me now and I am a lion and on my right is a lion!" Allahu akbar. Their ego is bad and going to kill them at the end. Out of love I am saying this (to save you). If you feel I embarrassed you, then I apologize. Correct your beliefs. It is not correct and right to post what you have posted about that person; it is not nice if Mawlana will see it.

I will tell you a story you don't know. One time Grandshaykh was in seclusion and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim and Mawlana Shaykh Husayn were in seclusion with him. Do you know that? If you are a khalifah you must know. Not one Sahabah (r) said, "I know." there were 124000 Sahabah; even child who saw Prophet (s) one time is Sahabah. That is bad adab (to say, "I know.") Say, "I am a slave, I am here for my shaykh to take my wild animal from me." Don't say, "I am I." that is shameful to say in front of your shaykh! I am saying this with my love to you and I have to say that to myself also.

So they were in seclusion and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim was authorized to hand over any letter to Grandshaykh, may Allah bless his soul. A letter came to Mawlana Shaykh Husayn and now Mawlana doesn't know if he should give it to Grandshaykh or not, and he was debating himself. Not that he doesn't want to give it, but he is afraid for Shaykh Husayn, because the title on the letter was written, "To Qutb al-Aqtab Shaykh Husayn," from his students in Aleppo, Turkey. And Mawlana Shaykh knew if he gives that letter to Grandshaykh, Shaykh Husayn will be in a problem. That is where Grandshaykh said, "I have two students." He never said, "I have a khalifah."

(This story is for) all who come to Mawlana Shaykh and he doesn't even know their names! One came from Toronto; I kicked him from here and he went there and said to Mawlana Shaykh, "We have no dhikr there (in Toronto). Can I open dhikr there?" Mawlana said, "Okay, you are my khalifah there. What is your name? What is your name?" "Such and such." Mawlana doesn't know his name, which means, "Take whatever you like."

(Back to the story.) So now Mawlana Shaykh doesn't know what to do, to give the letter or not. Who is telling the story? Mawlana is telling and Grandshaykh (q) also. So he went to Grandshaykh's room and didn't say anything. Grandshaykh said, "How is everything today, alright? You ate?" The shaykh has the right to speak in seclusion, but not the mureed. So he said, "Nazim Effendi, you didn't give me a letter today." Usually letters come every ten days, not daily.

Mawlana Shaykh said, "Okay, I have it."

Mawlana Shaykh Husayn and Mawlana Shaykh Nazim were sitting there. He can read it, but he gave it to Mawlana Shaykh Husayn without opening it, and he read, "Ila qutb al-aqtab hazratleri, Respected One." Then Mawlana Shaykh showered on him all kinds of disciplinary words, to be respectful to Grandshaykh. "Who told you that you are Qutb al-Aqtab!" and continued from there, although really he was Qutb al-Aqtab. It means, don't praise yourself!

فَلَا تُزَكُّوا أَنفُسَكُمْ

wa laa tuzakoo anfusakum.

Therefore justify not yourselves (53:32)

May Allah guide us to the Right Way. If you want to contact me, no problem. I don't have your contact information or else I would contact you.